Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy

Our Compassionate Veterinary Hospice team includes a dedicated, certified veterinary rehabilitation nurse, offering regular home visits to help take your pet’s palliative care to the next level.  Rehabilitation therapy or Physiotherapy is a great addition to your aging pet’s care during all stages of hospice.  Rehab is used in conjunction with the pet’s current treatment and adjusted to meet the pet’s needs as they change during the aging and caregiving process.  

Some common complaints, issues or conditions that benefit from therapy are:

  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Limping
  • Weakness due to orthopedic or neurologic injury
  • Changes in cognition
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Boredom/Depression

Rehabilitation can be thought of as physical medicine, and common modalities used are massage, manual joint manipulation, Passive and Active Range of Motion, targeted home exercises and heat or cold therapy.  In addition, we can recommend home environment adjustments, assistive devices like braces or harnesses, non-pharmaceutical pain management alternatives and home therapy equipment. 

Rehab therapy helps alleviate pain, increases mobility, improves gait and posturing, improves appetite and stimulates the mind.  Another often underlooked benefit of rehab therapy is finding another way to assess the pet’s comfort and mobility which can help the caregiver communicate their needs to the Compassionate Veterinary Hospice Team.  

In addition to regular physiotherapy, a rehab home visit can also include:

Environmental Assessments – Our rehab nurse will discuss what options there may be for helping to address your pets’ needs at home.  We look at your home environment to discuss ways to positively impact your pet’s mobility, safety, and emotional wellbeing.  

Emotional enrichment – Rehab modalities have benefits for pain and mobility, but also can increase owner-pet quality time, provide regular breaks in the day and even help pets use and improve mental acuity.  In humans, this has been shown to combat depression and boredom and even improve sleep. 

Assistive Devices – We will discuss what Assistive Devices may be available to help your pet – such as slings, harnesses, ramps, steps, paw grips, wheel chairs, wagons, diapers, etc.  We have a variety of these devices for rent or sale, and our nurse can help fit the appropriate size for your pet and demonstrate their use. 

Recumbency Care – Recumbency means “lying down.”  When a pet is no longer able to get up and move around easily, or at all, then special care should be taken to ensure their bedrest is as comfortable as possible, and not causing other complications or discomforts.  Our nurse will discuss how and when to help your pet move.  We’ll demonstrate passive range-of-motion exercises to promote good blood flow, discuss how to avoid bed sores, how to address hygiene needs, and a variety of tactics to help your pet avoid depression or boredom.